One dream, one realistic, and one bargain player the Canadiens can sign in NHL free agency

The Montreal Canadiens could find a way to be active in NHL free agency, and maybe they will find a way to land a dream candidate.
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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NHL free agency will be here within three weeks, and it gives the Montreal Canadiens and the league’s other 31 teams a chance to excite their respective fan bases with some fresh talent picked off of different organizations. While Montreal may not be a heavy hitter in free agency, it never hurts to get speculative over what they may do in July. 

Below, I have three players for you, each in their unique category. The first one we’ll discuss is a dream free agent, or an unlikely addition, but one who would immediately reinvigorate interest in the Habs from fans who may have otherwise chosen to wait until the team becomes more relevant. 

Our second option is a realistic free agent or one the Canadiens can sign at a reasonable cost without breaking the bank. This player would also give the Habs decent production if they sign. Finally, there is the bargain free agent or a player who may not be an ideal addition, but should make for a serviceable one-year rental at more than an affordable price. 

Now, let’s check out these players and discuss how general manager Kent Hughes can fit them into the lineup. 

Dream Free Agent: Sam Reinhart, Florida Panthers

Hey, I said I have a dream free agent for you, so let’s start with one of the biggest names on the list. As I write this, Sam Reinhart is just two wins away from hoisting his first Stanley Cup, and following a legendary season, he will demand a well-earned blockbuster deal. 

While you may wonder how the Habs could fit a player like Reinhart into the lineup thanks to the roughly $8.5 million they have in cap space, a number that will likely be around the cap hit to sign him, if not more if Alexander MacLean of Dobber Hockey’s projections hold true, let’s factor in LTIR. 

If we take Carey Price’s contract and add it in, it gives the Canadiens extra cap space, which would more than clear the Reinhart deal. Should the Habs sign Reinhart, they can also backload his contract somewhat, closer to when Brendan Gallagher and Josh Anderson - assuming they’re sticking around - are near the end of their respective deals. 

Admittedly, it’s tough to see Reinhart coming to Quebec, both because of potential cap constraints despite what I mentioned above and the possibility he may want to re-sign in Florida or join a contender. But there is a way to bring a player like Reinhart to town should Kent Hughes pursue that route.